in the Court of Appeals 5 April 2017.
by plaintiff from order entered 14 June 2016 by Judge Susan
E. Bray in Guilford County No. 15CVS7639 Superior Court.
Gregory A. Wendling for plaintiff-appellant.
Coates Kyre & Bowers, PLLC, by Deborah J. Bowers, for
Properties, LLC ("Plaintiff") appeals the June 14,
2016 order granting Defendants' motion for summary
judgment on Plaintiff's declaratory judgment action.
Plaintiff argues that summary judgment was improper because
there remain genuine issues of material fact concerning
ambiguities in insurance policies issued by North Carolina
Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance Company, Inc. ("Defendant
Insurance Company"; insurance company and its insureds,
collectively, "Defendants") that may entitle
Plaintiff to relief. We disagree.
& Procedural Background
declaratory judgment action arose from an underlying claim
brought by Plaintiff against Defendants, including M. Selak
and J. Tucker (collectively "minor insureds"), for
allegedly vandalizing and breaking into properties owned by
the late night and early morning hours between November 5 and
21, 2010, Plaintiff claims that the minor insureds vandalized
four houses on Orville Drive in High Point, North Carolina
("Properties") which are owned or managed by
Plaintiff. The vandalism allegedly occurred on three separate
occasions, causing approximately $58, 000.00 in damages. In
addition to the claims made against the minor insureds for
"intentionally, willfully and maliciously" damaging
and destroying the Properties, Plaintiff also brought claims
against Sabaheta Selak, the mother of M. Selak, and Delisa
Sparks, the mother of J. Tucker (collectively "parent
insureds"), for negligence and negligent supervision of
their minor children.
parent insureds have homeowners' insurance policies
issued through Defendant Insurance Company
("Policies") that were in effect for the period
during which the damage occurred. The Policies, for each
parent insured, contain the same relevant provisions for
purposes of determining whether coverage exists for the
damage caused by the minor insureds.
II(A) of the Policies controls the extent of coverage for
personal liability claims brought against persons insured
under the Policies. Section II(A) covers, in relevant part,
all claims "brought against an 'insured' for
damages because of . . . 'property damage' caused by
an 'occurrence'." The definitions section of the
Policies defines "insured" to include relatives of
the policy holder who reside in the policy holder's
household. "Occurrence" is defined as "an
accident, including continuous or repeated exposure to
substantially the same general harmful conditions" which
results in property damage. Where Section II(A) applies, the
Policies will pay up to the Policies' respective
liability limits for any damages for which an insured is
Policies also contain specific exclusion clauses to the
personal liability coverage. Under Section II(E), coverage of
Section II(A) is excluded where the property damage that
occurs "is intended or may be reasonably expected to
result from the intentional acts or omissions or criminal
acts or omissions of one or more 'insured'
persons." This exclusion applies regardless of whether
the insured is charged with or convicted of a crime.
29, 2015, Plaintiff brought this declaratory judgment action
against Defendant Insurance Company seeking a declaration
that the alleged damages arising out of the underlying claim
are covered under the Policies issued by Defendant Insurance
Company. Defendant Insurance Company filed motions for
dismissal and summary judgment on February 11, 2016.
order filed June 14, 2016, the trial court granted Defendant
Insurance Company's motion for summary judgment on the
declaratory judgment action concluding that the damages
sustained by Plaintiff were excluded from the insurance